Florida company sues Netscape for patent infringement

A small Florida company has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Netscape Communications over software included in the popular Navigator World Wide Web browser.

Elk Industries sued Netscape last month alleging that a helper application in Navigator that allows users to retrieve audio clips infringes on a 1978 patent of Elk's.

"It's what we consider a pioneering patent in audio digital technology," Elk's lawyer Jeff Herman, of Herman Roof Borgognoni & Moor in Miami, says.

The lawsuit, filed in US District Court in Miami, seeks unspecified damages for willful infringement and retroactive royalties based on sales of Navigator. This amount could come to between 5% and 7% of the browser's gross sales, Herman says.

A Netscape spokeswoman says the company has no comment other than the fact that the firm's legal department is reviewing the case.

Netscape's written response is due in court later this month, Herman says.

Netscape, based in Mountain View, Calif., can be reached at on the Web at http://www.netscape.com.

Elk, based in Hollywood, Florida, is at +1 (954) 963-2948.

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